In 17th-century France, Father Urbain Grandier seeks to protect the city of Loudun from the corrupt establishment of Cardinal Richelieu. Hysteria occurs within the city when he is accused of witchcraft by a sexually repressed nun.
In 1926 the tragic and untimely death of a silent screen actor caused female moviegoers to riot in the streets and in some cases to commit suicide - that actor was Rudolph Valentino. ... See full summary »
Ten short pieces directed by ten different directors, including Ken Russell, Jean-Luc Godard, Robert Altman, Bruce Beresford, and Nicolas Roeg. Each short uses an aria as soundtrack/sound (... See full summary »
Ken Russell is not for everybody, and my view of him and his work has been somewhat of a mixed bag. There has been some stuff of his I liked very much, especially Mahler though even that had touches that some are not going to like, but others that I've not cared for, like his 1985 staging of Faust. Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle is not his best or one of them, and I do think his 1960s work of the composer was better, but a long way from his worst. I do agree that it does get monotonous in places in pacing and in some of the sequences(especially the couple standing by the window), and the women's appearances are too come and go. Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle is shot beautifully though, the period detail is lovingly evocative and the scenery is every bit as magical. The music is glorious and always fitting, and the Isle of Wight honeymoon sequence is just enchanting. The lack of dialogue was a good idea I think, the body language tells so much even without it, while the biographical elements are fascinating and for Russell thankfully restrained in tone. Overall, while not always consistent and securely paced, Elgar: Fantasy of a Composer on a Bicycle was fascinating and beautiful to look at. 8/10 Bethany Cox
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